Calibrate your monitor – We recommend using Adobe gamma software or a third party
software. Your monitor and lighting will alter the way an image looks.
If your monitor isn't calibrated you could be making color corrections
based on inaccurate information. We advise reading the Adobe Photoshop
manual for more information on this topic.
Scan images at a high resolution - Scan two times the line screen of the output device. American
Printing's default line screen is 150. For 150 line screen, your images
should be 300 ppi (300 dpi) for placement at 100%. Line art scans should
be scanned at the resolution of your output device, but for file size
purposes, 1,200 ppi (300 dpi) is acceptable.
Test your scanner - Test
the quality of your scanner by scanning a grayscale test strip that has
stepped increments of black ranging from 0% to 100%. You may purchase
one at most photography stores and are guaranteed to be accurate. Once
scanned, open the test strip in Photoshop and use the picker to check
the black dot in each square. This will show you if your scanner is off
in highlights, midtones, or shadows. If you click on the 50% square but
only get a reading of 43%, your scans will be flat in the midtones. Once
you know your scanner, you can modify your scans accordingly by
Try to achieve a 3% highlight dot and
93% shadow dot in the lightest and darkest areas of your
scans - This range will provide good contrast and tonal range. If you do
not capture enough pixels when scanning, you cannot replace them during
the color-correcting phase.
Use RGB mode for all photo
manipulation except color correcting. If you work in Photoshop, which we
recommend, most filters are only available in RGB mode. Once you are
ready to color correct, convert your scans to CMYK mode. Watch for
colors that cannot be reproduced with inks. The Gamut Warning function
in Photoshop will show the colors in your scan that will not print. It
will show you the closest reproducible colors, which can be dramatically
Test some images with scatters - If your budget and time permit, send some test images to your printer
or service provider and have a contract proof made. Use these proofs to
judge how accurate your monitor and scanning equipment are and then make
calibration adjustments accordingly.
Take advantage of your printer's
expertise - If you do not feel comfortable about your
equipment or training, let one of American's experienced operators
create quality scans for you. Poor scans will detract from the overall
look of professionally designed and printed pieces.
There are many different methods for improving your scans. We also
recommend the book titled Real World Scanning and Halftones.